From: Timothy Newsham <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Date: Fri, 14 Jul 1995 20:49:35 -1000 (HST)
Revolutionary DCF System to Replace CMM by Matt Sejnowski 2/16/95 dcf.doc API Austin - First there were software metrics. With these, software developers and their management could finally measure something for the output of the software creation process. In the 80's these techniques flourished. Funny names for these measurements emerged, like "McCabe complexity" and "software volume". Soon it was realized that there needed to be a way not only to measure the quality of the software output, but also to measure the quality of the engineering organization itself. The Capability Maturity Model, CMM, was developed in the early 90's. Organizations are audited by professionals and rated on a scale of 1 to 5. Low scores mean the software production process is chaotic, while 5 means that all aspects of software development are fully understood and carefully applied, all but assuring a quality product every time. Sadly, most software organizations today weigh in at a meager 1, and there's a suprising number of 0's out there. Now, a revolutionary new measurement technique has been developed by a small startup consulting firm in Austin, Texas. The new system is simply known as DCF. The simplicity and elegance of the new measuring system belies its power in accurately judging the soundness of a software organization. The inventor of DCF and founder of the DiCoFact Foundation, Matt Sejnowski, says the new measurement system is "simple and fool-proof, but modifications are being made to make it management- proof as well". One Sunday morning Matt was performing his normal ritual of reading the most important parts of the newspaper first, when he came across his favorite comic strip, "Dilbert" by Scott Adams. Matt and his work colleagues loved this comic strip and were amazed by how many of the silly storylines reminded them of actual incidences at their company. They even suspected that Scott Adams was working there in disguise, or at least that there was a spy in the company feeding Scott daily cartoon ideas. Matt suddenly had the flash of genius inspiration that promised to make him millions: The Dilbert Correllation Factor (DCF). Matt's idea was simple: "Take 100 random Dilbert comic strips and present them in a survey to all your engineering personnel. Include both engineers and management. Each person reads the strips, and puts a check mark on each strip that reminds him of how his company operates. Collect all surveys and count the check marks. This gives you your Dilbert Correllation Factor, which can range of course from 0% to 100%. Average out the engineers scores. Throw out the manager's surveys, we just have them do the survey to make them feel important; however, if many of them scowl during the survey, add up to 5 points to the DCF (in technical terms, this is your Management Dissing Fudge Factor, MDFF). Make sure to also throw out surveys of engineers that laugh uncontrollably during the whole survey (remember their names for subsequent counseling). And that's all there is to it! Oh yeah, then walk around the building and count Dilbert cartoons on the walls. Don't forget coffee bars, bulletin boards, office doors and of course, bathrooms". Add up to 10 points for this Dilbert Density Coefficient Adjustment (DDCA). Interpreting the results is simple. Let's look at some ranges: 0% - 25%: You probably have a quality software organization. However, you guy's need to lighten up! Maybe a few suprise random layoff, or perhaps initiating a Quality Improvement Program, will do the trick to boost your company's DCF to healthier level. 26% - 50%: This is also a sign of a good software organization, and is nearly ideal. You still manage to get a quality product out, and yet you still have some of the fun that only Dilbert lovers can identify with... Mandatory membership in social committees, endless e-mail debates about the right acronyms to use for the company products, and of course detailed weekly status reports where everyone lists "did status report" on accomplishments. 51% - 75%: This is the most typical DCF level for software houses today. Your software products are often in jeapardy due to the Dilbert-like environment they are produced in. You have a nice healthy dose of routine mismanagement, senseless endless meetings with no conclusions, miscommunications at all levels of the organization, and arbitrary commitments made to customers which send engineers into cataplexy. 76% - 100%: The best advice for this organization is this: Get the hell out of the software business. Hire the best cartoonist you can afford, have him join your project teams and document what he sees in comic strips... get 'em syndicated and you'll make a fortune! Matt has applied for a patent on his unique DCF system. He is anxious to become a high-priced consultant, going to lots of companies, doing his survey, getting the fee, and getting out before management realizes they've been ripped off and have to hire another high-priced consultant to come in and set things right. Matt reports, "I'm thinking about a do-it-yourself version for the future, too. I'd put Dilbert cartoons on little cards so they can be passed out to the engineers for the survey... I'll probably call it 'Deal-a-Dilbert'. I'm also thinking about a simple measurement system that lets employees find out their personality type and where they best fit into the organization. I call this the 'Dilbert/Dogbert Empathy Factor' or 'DDEF' for short.